Fall/Winter Issue 2015

Fall/Winter Issue 2015


Fall/winter Issue 2015

In this Issue:
1. From the Director
2. Voter Photo ID
3. Still Celebrating the ADA
4. ADA Cont. & Act Now Advocacy Network
5. Assistive Technology for Dementia Program & Caregivers Conf with Teepa Snow
6. Options New Staff, WI LTC Update, and Options HOME Program
7. Benefits Buzz and Consumer Spotlight
8.Winter Recreation
9.Tech Closet News
10. Recap of Options summer events
11. Support Groups at Options
12. Wisloan and Telework Loan Programs
13. Options Personal Care Program
14. For Sale Items

15. Staff /Board Directory

From the Director

By Thomas J. Diedrick, Executive Director

As I reflect back on the year, we have in many ways, had an outstanding year in regards to services for people with disabilities, those who are older and the community. I encourage you to read the Annual Report insert. This is only a summary of accomplishments, but it gives you an idea of the activities and services we provided.

This summer we co-sponsored a celebration to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA is a milestone giving people with disabilities “civil rights” in the area of Employment, State and Local Government Services, Transportation, Public Accommodations and Telecommunication. The event was well attended. It gave participants the opportunity to not only recognize the successes of the ADA, but also to remind them of future challenges.

Another major community event was the Assistive Technology Resource Fair held in September at the Lambeau Field Atrium. This was a huge undertaking, but well worth it. All who attended found it beneficial. See article inside for more details.

On another note, there were some significant changes in Wisconsin’s Long Term Care system that will have an impact on people with disabilities and those who are older. The Governor proposed and Legislature passed a major reorganization of Family Care and IRIS. Please share any concerns with your legislators how proposed changes will impact your life. Options will be posting details as they are released on our facebook page and website:

Wishing you Happy Holidays!

Voter Photo ID is now the Law in Wisconsin – Be Ready!

2016 will be an important voting year for Americans. Wisconsinites will be voting for President, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, even-numbered Wisconsin State Senate seats, all Wisconsin Assembly seats, and all District Attorneys. The 2016 elections are scheduled for February 16, April 5, August 9, and November 8. Most voters will now need to show a photo ID to vote. Below is informationthat will hopefully answer any questions you may have about obtaining a photo ID for voting...

There are many questions about what voter photo ID will mean for seniors and people with disabilities. There are limited ways to satisfy the ID requirement.

If you vote by permanent absentee ballot you are exempt from the voter photo ID to requirement. Voters who have a disability or are elderly can request to be added to the permanent absentee ballot list by mailing a letter to their municipal clerk. It must include the voter’s name, address and signature and a statement that the voter is “indefinitely confined” which means getting to the polls could be difficult. It does not mean homebound. For more information see

If you have a US Passport, Wisconsin driver license or state ID card that expires after November 4, 2014, you can use it to vote through November 2016. The address does not need to be current. The unexpired paper receipt received from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can be used while waiting for the DMV to mail your new card.

New citizens can use their certificate of naturalization for 2 years, after which they need to get a state ID.

If you live in a nursing home or other care facility you can be visited by a representative of your local clerk’s office. Check with your care facility staff or municipal clerk. You will not need voter photo ID as staff can vouch for your identity.

If you don’t have a voter photo ID and can’t or don’t want to use the indefinitely confined permanent absentee ballot exemption (above), you need to get a free ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles before the next election.

To get your free state ID, you need to bring:

Proof of citizenship, name and date of birth—a birth certificate, naturalization certificate or US passport. (If your name does not match your birth certificate bring proof of name change.) If you don’t have all the proof you need you can ask the DMV to help verify your information.

Proof of Wisconsin Residency—a utility bill or bank statement, less than 90 days old;

Proof of Identity—driver license or ID from any state, college photo ID, social securitycard, military discharge papers (certified copy of form DD-214).

Out of state IDs cannot be used for voter photo ID. For full details go to . Please contact Options at 888-465-1515 ext. 179 for any other questions.

Talk to your friends and neighbors. Make sure every eligible Wisconsin voter has the documentation they need to vote!

Still Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act...

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was passed to promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities. To commemorate and honor this historic event, Lacy Pittman envisioned a creative medium contest calledMy Generation: Youth, the ADA, and Art, which invited young individualswith disabilities to interpret their thoughts about the ADA. The winner of My Generation is Kathryn Carroll, who wrote the following“I (Don’t) Care”:

I (Don’t) Care

I didn’t care about the ADAwhen my large-print textbooks arrived in elementary school. My friends and I giggled about the fact that just one took up an entire desk.

I didn’t care about the ADAwhile I listened to my mom argue on the phone with the bus company, explaining that I did not need a special bus to get to school, but an accessible bus stop. I took the bus with the other kids.

I didn’t care about the ADAwhen I heard my dad tell my teachers in elementary school that, given the right opportunity, I would make them proud. And I did.

I didn’t care about the ADAwhen my standardized tests arrived in high school and I couldn’t read them because they were not enlarged. I cried at home because I had studied so hard and it didn’t matter.

I started to care about the ADAwhen my guidance counselor told me to write a letter to the makers of the standardized tests, telling them that I needed better.

I didn’t know much about the ADAso I didn’t write the letter.

I started thinking about the ADAwhen I went to college and had to be an advocate for myselfto get the resources I needed.

I thought about the ADAa lot while I studied abroad, watching the foreign students with disabilities get by with a lot less institutionalized help.

I thought about the ADAon the train when my classmate, who was from South America, said, “In my country, people like you would stay at home.” In my country, they don’t.

I thought about the ADAwhen I met someone who would be studying abroad in the US, at my university. He worried about getting accommodations.

I (Don’t) Care cont…

I thought about the ADAon the train when my classmate, who was from South America, said, “In my country, people like you would stay at home.” In my country, they don’t.

I thought about the ADAwhen I met someone who would be studying abroad in the US, at my university. He worried about getting accommodations.

I care about the ADAbecause I once heard people rave about the fact that the DC metro has elevators – at every station.

I care about the ADAbecause next week, I am going to the movies with two persons who are deaf, one who is blind, and three who are wheelchair users. We can all go to see the same movie, at the same time.

I didn’t care about the ADAwhen the people who wrote it and made it law cared about people like me.

I care about the ADAmore than I can say.

Kathryn Carrollis currently pursuing a law degree at St. John’s University with the intention of becoming a civil rights or human rights lawyer. The ADA expanded Carroll’s view of the world and as a result, was the inspiration for this poem. Carroll said, “As a student and a young person, I believe that though we may not feel any connection between the ADA and the daily obstacles we face, it is in fact a statement of equal rights and privileges for all to enjoy.”

Want to Get Involved in Legislative Advocacy? Join Act Now!

Ed Roberts, the Father of Independent Living, is quoted as saying an Independent Living Center has “three top priorities: advocacy, advocacy, and advocacy." In an effort to gather advocates together on disability related issues, Options has a strong and active legislative advocacy network called Act Now. Individuals in the network receive, via email or mail, legislative alerts and updates on issues impacting people with disabilities. When an alert or update is received, the individual is encouraged to pursue the issue by contacting their area legislator.

Contacting your legislator about issues that may affect you, or someone you know, is important. Your legislator wants to hear firsthand how legislation being considered can impact your life positively or negatively. It helps in their decision making. Joining Act Now will assist you in those efforts. This network will educate you on the issues and help you to advocate more effectively. And the more people in the network, the greater the impact.

If you are interested in joining Act Now, contact Sandy Popp at Options (920) 393-1043 or toll-free at (888) 465-1515, ext. 179. Remember, your voice can make a difference!

Assistive Technology Program for People with Dementia—AT Home with Dementia

The AT Home with Dementia program is a collaborative effort among the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Brown County (ADRC), Curative Connections, and Options for Independent Living. The AT Home program provides in-home assessments for families who are caring for someone with dementia, to provide assistance to the care giving and to improve home safety. It is also designed to assess the person with dementia to see where improvements can be made in their overall well-being.

Our Specialists go into the home and discuss with the family specific concerns or issues they may be having. Each of the Specialists shares samples of assistive technology that may be beneficial. It is important to note that all equipment can be tried out for a period of time to see if it is helpful. If the equipment is found helpful, the Specialists will assist in ensuring it is obtained. Some of the items can be put into action immediately and are quite inexpensive, while others may need to be ordered or are more high tech. As the program continues to evolve new and improved researched devices/gadgets have emerged and are being introduced to families.

The AT Home with Dementia: Assistive Technology Support program looks forward to our second year and reaching out to even more families. Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, including the U.S.Venture Open Fund for Basic Needs, the J.J. Keller Foundation, and donors of the Community Foundation.

Upcoming Event in January with Teepa Snow!

Creating Moments of Joy: A Day with Teepa...The AT Home with Dementia: Assistive Technology Support program would like to invite you to a very special Caregiver Training Monday, January 11th, 2016, with nationally recognized presenter Teepa Snow. Teepa is an occupational therapist working as a dementia care and dementia education specialist. She has over 33 years of clinical experience in the field of geriatrics and dementia care and has provided care to family members with dementia conditions. Teepa currently practices independently and serves clinical appointments with Duke University's School of Nursing & UNC-CH School of Medicine. She provides interactive and creative educational and practical hands-on training sessions to organizations and providers throughout the US & Canada. She has been actively involved in teaching and clinical research projects throughout her practice career.

The training will be held at the Ramada Plaza, 2750 Ramada Way, in Green Bay from 8 am—3:30 pm. Registration is required as there is a limited number of spaces available. Registration fees are: Family Caregiver $5.00, Student $10.00, and Professional $25.00. Caregivers will get first priority to attend the training. Scholarship funds are available to help pay the cost of care for your loved one while you attend this program. For scholarship and/or registration information please call 920-593-3521. Registration deadline is December 18, 2015.

Options Welcomes New Staff

Alyson Windle – Hello everyone! I am Options for Independent Living’s new Independent Living Coordinator for Fond Du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Waupaca and Waushara counties. My office is in Options Appleton Office located at the Thompson Center. I recently graduated from the OTA program at Fox Valley Technical College and am now certified and licensed in the state of WI as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. I have always enjoyed working with people and have experience working in a variety of settings including: CBRFs, child care, nursing homes and treatment foster homes. When I’m not at work I enjoy babysitting, cooking, movies (especially B-rated horror movies) and The Walking Dead! I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life and am excited to work with the Options team!

WI’s Long Term Care System Change Update

Last June the Wisconsin Legislature voted to overhaul Wisconsin's current long term care system of Family Care and IRIS, despite the overwhelming cry from the disability and aging community to leave the current money saving and successful system intact. Since that time disability advocates are letting DHS and the Governor know changes to WI’s long term care system should be done in a slow and carefully planned manner. Advocates want “nothing about us, without us.” Stay tuned there will be more in the next issue and on our website/facebook.

Options has HOME funds for Home Accessibility, Rehabilitation, or Repair

Options for Independent Living, Inc. has received federal funding through the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration, Division of Housing to administer the HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME Loan Program). The HOME Loan Program provides deferred no payment and no interest loans to low or moderate income persons with a disability and those who are older for the purpose of making accessibility improvements and general home improvements or repairs to their single family home. The loan must be paid back when the property is sold, transferred or ceases to be the borrower’s principal place of residence.

Types of projects include (but not limited to) ramp construction, bathroom, kitchen and bedroom modifications, along with general housing rehabilitation and repairs. The counties served by this program include Brown (outside Green Bay city limits), Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago Counties. Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements to be considered for a loan. For more information contact Steve LaFrombois at Options, 920-490-0500 or toll-free at 1-888-465-1515, ext. 122.

Benefits Buzz

Social Security - Social Security Administration Announces No Cost-of-Living Increases for 2016

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announcedthat there will be no cost-of-living increase for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in 2016. The Social Security Act provides for annual increasesin Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI), Disability Insurance (DI), and SSI benefits based on inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). Because the CPI-W decreased over the last year, there will be no increase in Social Security or SSI benefits in 2016.

However, as noted in a statementby The Arc’s Senior Executive Officer for Public Policy, Marty Ford, many beneficiaries will still face increases in costs such as out-of-pocket medical expenses and housing.

SSA also announced that two important thresholds for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries with disabilities will increase in 2016: the Substantial Gainful Activity level for non-blind individuals will increase from $1,090 per month in 2015 to $1,130 per month in 2016, and the Trial Work Level will increase from $780 per month in 2015 to $810 per month in 2016.

Because there is the “hold harmless” provision in Medicare Part B, Part B premiums for about 70 percent of OASI or DI beneficiaries will not increase in 2016. Medicare Part B beneficiaries who are not held harmless (generally higher income beneficiaries and those newly enrolled) will have a Part B premiums of $121.80 per month in 2016.